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Grass and Poison types of Generation 1 (Part 1) - winstein's Review

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Some of you have expressed interest in me writing up on another type to review, and I had fun doing this anyway, so I decided to take a look at the Grass-types initially. However, seeing as how many Grass and Poison types were available in the 1st Generation, I decided to do both of them in this cycle of reviews. Therefore, this entry is treated as both the Grass-type review and the Poison-type review. Now to begin!

Bulbasaur, Ivysaur and Venusaur




As every member of Bulbagarden knows, Bulbasaur is the mascot, making him special in a way. Bulbasaur's family are also the first Pokemon on the PokeDex too, making them even more special. While it had been established that every starter starts as a pure type, Bulbasaur averts this rule, starting with a dual type all the way through, where he’s always a Grass/Poison type!

When one looks at Bulbasaur and family, I doubt the first thing that comes to mind is their Poison-type, and they can even be pure Grass with no incongrurance in their designs! However, ivies are known to be poisonous (and rashy too). Still, if you can explain their Poison connection, by all means, please do.

Every member of the Venusaur family have some significance in the Pokémon franchise. Bulbasaur was the first "starter" Pokémon in Ash's possession (technically his fourth), and also one of Ash's better Pokémon. Ivysaur is playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl under the command of Pokémon Trainer as the Grass and second stage representative. And Venusaur...he's the box mascot on Pokémon Green and LeafGreen.

Ingame-wise in the 1st Generation of games, Bulbasaur was considered the easiest Pokémon to start off, because he has a type advantage against the first two gyms, Rock and Water, and by extension, Electric and Grass due to resistance to both those types. It helps that their Special stat was great, because this meant that they were able to use their Grass attacks to easily dispatch the opponent's Pokémon, while the player has time to consider other Pokémon in their team (or muscle with one Pokemon, whichever works).

In the anime, Bulbasaur has the special distinction of being used by more than one main character, as both Ash and May used him. Ash's own Bulbasaur was one of the best fighters in his team, and when he had been given the chance to evolve in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden, he passed the chance, which was punishment from the other members of the tribe there. Speaking of that, I believe that this is where the name of the forums come from: the home of Bulbasaurs, Ivysaurs and a Venusaur. Ash's Bulbasaur also used more than one move that he would not be able to normally learn, in which he used Lick and Tickle against Misty's Psyduck, for example (admittedly, they weren't that offensive either). May, on the other hand, evolved her Bulbasaur into a Venusaur (seen in her arrival at Sinnoh), and was used in contests. I am not familiar with most of Bulbasaur's history in the anime at this point, so feel free to provide them in the comments below.

In competitive battling, Venusaur was an average Pokémon, but his true potential is unleashed in later generations. The 1st Generation was not particularly interesting, except that some of Venusaur's usefulness was hindered by being weak to Psychic, the dominant type that generation. The 2nd Generation did give Venusaur a Poison attack (Sludge Bomb) to go with his STAB. The 3rd Generation gave him Overgrow, which, while not groundbreaking, was still useful. The 4th Generation was the amazing beginning of Venusaur's history, which I will elaborate a little later, and the 5th Generation made him even more amazing because Venusaur becomes a great Pokémon in the Sun.

Venusaur's all around stats give him both good survivability and power. He also has Sleep Powder, and if you have that move, it's hard NOT to be useful, because it's a fairly accurate Sleeping move, and Sleep is a deadly ailment. He has Swords Dance in every generation, this is one of the sets that he can use all the way through. His bulk does make him a good supporter, with Sleep Powder and Leech Seed being key moves.

When the Physical and Special system has changed, Venusaur is one of the Pokémon that appreciates it, because it meant that his versatility has improved. On the Physical side, he can make use of the new Grass move he has, Power Whip, plus other Physical moves like Earthquake and Body Slam along with Swords Dance and Life Orb to great effect. On the Special side, Sludge Bomb, Leaf Storm, Energy Ball, and Hidden Power can be used with his higher Special Attack and Life Orb for nice damage as well, and of course, Venusaur have Sleep Powder to be dangerous, as always. Of course, the ability to absorb Toxic Spikes is always useful. His Dream World ability, Chlorophyll, is what makes him a contender in the Sun, because now Venusaur is able to become a speedy monster, and together with Growth's boost and Petal Dance's increase in power in Generation 5, he is able to do some serious damage to the opposing team.

All in all, Bulbasaur's family have the right of pride, due to what they have achieved: first Grass starter, versatile Pokémon, and last but not least, mascot of the forums.

10 leaves out of 10!
5 toxins out of 10!


=====================

Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume




This family has On the Origin of Species articles about them, split between Oddish and the other two. Basically, Oddish is based on a mandrake, due to its human-like appearance under the leaves, and Gloom and Vileplume are rafflesia-inspired. Even Vileplume's Japanese name is named after the rafflesia! Also, it's interesting to note that Oddish is the only one to have a nocturnal nature, because the PokeDex entries has established that fact. The transition from Oddish to Gloom, thinking of it now, didn't make sense, because grass cannot turn into a flower, but it's Generation 1: you don't have to make sense to be awesome in any way (according to Generation 1 advocates, anyway). I thought that Vileplume was magnificent at that time, because of that large flower in contrast with the dark body.

Rafflesias have a strong scent, and while the smell is odoriferous, it does smell good to certain animals, which is the case to Gloom, who is said to smell terrible, in the language of exaggeration, of course. Still, the fluid is said to taste sweet, kind of like durians: pungent smell but tastes great. Vileplume's large flower seems to be quite dangerous, due to the lethal effects of the pollen it carried. The anime even capitalises this fact, where Professor Ivy was caught in the deadly pollen and was hospitalised, and another in Misty's episode where Ash and Tracey had an accident that paralysed them as a result, leaving Misty to find the cure. So what's the point of saying all of these? It's more logical for them to be of the Poison-type than Venusaur's family (to me, at least).

Anyway, as for anime appearances, aside from Vileplume's deadly pollen scenarios mentioned earlier, Erika the Gym Leader owned a Gloom, who was one of her favourite Pokemon, because he/she helped her from an attack when she was a girl. Let's not forget that a secret scent emitted by that Gloom was stolen by Team Rocket, but they were in for a nasty surprise when it turned out that it was essentially knockout gas. Also, Jessiebelle, James' childhood friend, has a Vileplume (was an Oddish before), in the episode where James' backstory is touched on. In another episode, Oddish wanted to fly like other Hoppips (my theory is that he/she must have had a parent of Jumpluff's family), to no avail, but proved to be a force against Team Rocket nonetheless when he/she took on them on his/her own.

Unlike other Grass/Poison types, Oddish has both the green and purple hues to represent the Grass and Poison types, and for Gloom and Vileplume, they have their purple hues and plant-like traits. This family was the first to possess Petal Dance, making it their (former) signature move. It wasn't quite as powerful in Generation 1 as opposed to Generation 5 (but had the same effect), unfortunately. Being available near Cerulean City in Red and FireRed, one can be caught when one needs a Grass Pokemon to overcome the Water Gym.

Unfortunately, in competitive battling, Vileplume wasn't the best, due to the low Speed and all around average stats. Vileplume is actually more suited for the supporting role, because he/she has moves that reflect this. Aromatherapy to cure the entire team of status ailment, Sleep Powder (yes, they have it too!) for sleeping, Stun Spore for paralysis, Charm for Attack lowering, and Leech Seed, while they don't normally learn it, is an event move, if you care. Like many Grass Pokemon, they have Swords Dance, which was great with Sludge Bomb in the 2nd and 3rd Generation. The 4th Generation was a mixed bag, because while the gigantic flower got more Special moves to use, he/she wasn't used in favour of other Pokemon that may be more useful. The 5th Generation was at least better, because in addition to Petal Dance's power boost, he/she can make more use of the Physical moves he/she has, like Drain Punch (now with 75 Base Power) and Nature Power's default attack isEarthquake in battles, making Vileplume a decent physical attacker (remember, he/she has Swords Dance!).

Both Vileplume's family and Victreebel's family are counterparts, by the way. They were version exclusives, requires a Leaf Stone to become fully evolved, have the same Base Stat total (in the final evolution), and the same type combination.

I think it's quite fascinating that this is one of the Generation 1 Pokemon that have a clear inspiration, albeit two different ones, because it shows that the designers did their research and made a Pokemon around it. While their competitive value would never likely be the best, they are still given credit for being very well-designed.

8 petals out of 10!
8 toxins out of 10!


=====================

Bellsprout, Weepinbell and Victreebel




Now we touch on these carnivorous plants, who also has a reason to be part Poison. Like Vileplume, he/she needs the Leaf Stone for the full evolution. Victreebel is the first Pokemon to have his/her name hampered by the 10 character limit, which will never affect future Pokemon except for one other. Future names doesn't seem to have that limitation, meaning the localisation team had improved. I've always thought that both Weepinbell and Victreebel were not able to move around because they have no legs, but as the anime and the video games have shown, they are perfectly able to move around despite that limitation.

Normally, carnivorous plants are not bothered by bugs, because they are the ones that have the advantage of strength. Ironically, the Grass-type is always weak to the Bug-type, and that's not right, especially in Generation 1, because Bug attacks are x4 effective against them. It's not the case in Generation 2 and beyond, because Bug attacks are now x1 effective, unlike a certain future plant.

It is easy to tell that this family resembles pitcher plants, due to their mouths. But then, it took them so long to get Gluttony to suit their carnivorous nature, which is their Dream World ability. In many PokeDex entries, it is mentioned that they have the ability to secrete fluid that would dissolve their prey, while also acting as sweet aroma, like real pitcher plants. It's fun to note that one of Bellsprout's Dex entry states that his/her fluid can even melt iron, but the type chart doesn't reflect this, because Steel is immune to Poison.

In Gold and Silver, Bellsprout has some form of popularity, in the form of the Sprout Tower. In this tower, the senior trainers specifically train Bellsprouts. Admirable effort, I have to say, but the problem is that these Bellsprouts only have Vine Whip as an attacking option, and sometimes Growth, so all you need is a Hoppip or Bellsprout of your own to make those trainers helpless.

In terms of anime appearances, Victreebel is the most famous one, thanks to being James’ Pokémon. This one’s quite a mouthful, because he/she likes to put his/her mouth in James’ head every time he/she got out of the Pokeball, almost without fail, to show some affection to him. However, in a later episode, that Victreebel was traded with a Weepinbell, and evolved into another Victreebel, and in the end, both Victreebels left with each other, never to be seen again, meaning they are out of the show for good. Also, let’s not forget a subtle message in 4Kids’ dub, involving James' predicament.

Competitive battling-wise, Victreebel is a good Pokémon, and is even better in the Sun, due to having good offensive stats and the ability Chlorophyll. The ability also complements his/her movepool, because one of the moves he can acquire is Weather Ball, which doubles its power and turns into a Fire-type move in the Sun, which meant that he/she is able to use another type for their Hidden Power. Even physically, he/she has some viable options, like Leaf Blade and Power Whip (and Swords Dance too!). If you want, there's Growth, a powerful boosting move in the Sun as well. In case he/she is in need to attack first, Sucker Punch can be used to get the jump. Like the other plants reviewed, they have the ability to use Sleep Powder, which is also great. Basically, Victreebel is one of the better offensive Sun Pokemon.

However, it wasn't the case in the earlier generations. That's because Victreebel didn't get those useful moves he/she has now, so basically, he/she was just an average Grass Pokemon, and this had probably impacted him/her, because he/she is still a forgotten Pokemon, as not many even talked about him/her. It's worth mentioning that in the 1st Generation, having Wrap was something, due to its disabling effect, meaning the opponent will be helpless if the move hits. It was also a considerable choice ingame in Generation 1, because Bellsprouts were available outside Cerulean City in Pokemon Blue and LeafGreen, so if you have a non-Grass starter, you can grab a nearbyBellsprout.

I like how the pitcher plant's existence is explored in Pokemon very early in the franchise, but there are a few inconsistancies with its nature and the game's mechanics that finding those flaws within them are easy. But still, as plants, there is reason to be fascinated with them, as one of the unique aspects of Pokemon: learning about real life in the Pokemon world.

7 leaves out of 10!
8 toxins out of 10!


=====================


Alright, with those three families covered, both the Grass and Poison types will be individually covered in the future, alternatively. Expect the next one to be of the Grass-types, so be sure to keep and eye next time if you like Grass Pokemon! As for Poison-type lovers, expect the next entry to be after that Grass type. I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. はりそん's Avatar
    Another great article, before reading this I was under the impression there were more grass types in generation 1 but it appears I was wrong^_^
    Looking forward to reading more.
  2. Kars's Avatar
    collio dude
  3. Envoy's Avatar
    I think Venusaur is part Poison because of the rafflessia(sp?) on it's back. It's supposed to be the same plant Vileplume has on it's head. I believe it's poisonous, right? That would make him part poison for all the exact same reasons Vileplume is. Bulbasaur/Ivysaur could be explained away by saying they carry young rafflessia seeds/buds on their backs (which they do). Anyway, good article. Fun read. Keep 'em coming. Can't wait for the Gen II one. When do you reckon that'll be?
  4. winstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Envoy
    I think Venusaur is part Poison because of the rafflessia(sp?) on it's back. It's supposed to be the same plant Vileplume has on it's head. I believe it's poisonous, right? That would make him part poison for all the exact same reasons Vileplume is. Bulbasaur/Ivysaur could be explained away by saying they carry young rafflessia seeds/buds on their backs (which they do).
    I am not sure if rafflesias are poisonous, but they do have some oddities for plants due to the emission of foul scent to attract insects. Still, reasonable explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Envoy
    Anyway, good article. Fun read. Keep 'em coming. Can't wait for the Gen II one. When do you reckon that'll be?
    It did take you (the famous Grass-type advocate) some time to notice this, but I am glad you do! For my next entry (Gen 2), I will need to finish up the next part of the Poison-types, before starting on that one.

    Thanks for reading.
  5. Envoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by winstein
    It did take you (the famous Grass-type advocate) some time to notice this, but I am glad you do! For my next entry (Gen 2), I will need to finish up the next part of the Poison-types, before starting on that one.

    Thanks for reading.
    I had actually seen it a while ago, but I've been really busy lately and hadn't had a chance to sit down and read it until recently (I read the second part, as well as your ghost types review too).

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